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Homeschooling Step by Step

Prov. 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

Prov. 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes...”

Whether you are homeschooling for the 10th year or for the first time, you need to be praying continually that the Lord will guide you. The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is get a book, follow a homeschooling list that someone put together, or listen to someone else in regard to how you should homeschool. No one, and that means me too, knows just what your family needs, what each of your children needs, and most importantly, no one else will be there when you try to follow through with your plan or your curriculum.

The first step may be to pray about where you would like to homeschool. I will tell you that each year our location has changed because we change! Our needs, our lifestyle and our children change and grow. I would encourage you NOT to try to pull a homeschool room together. Most of us veteran homeschool moms will tell you that it is very trying on husbands, and most often does not work out as you had hoped. Instead, do the simple: make your kitchen table your schoolroom! It will keep you in the kitchen where most women of today are not, which means you may be close to that “narrow gate” that you are looking for!!

It also will mean that you have all the desks and chairs you need, and many supplies that will help in many subjects: math, science, and home economics.

But most importantly, it should not put a burden on your husband. Remember him? He is the one who is making it possible for you to have the opportunity, at least in part, to homeschool. Let’s all remember this: we mothers need to act out our gratefulness by having a dinner waiting and the house tidy when our husbands get home. This is ALL part of homeschooling - training our children in righteousness by our behavior!!

School Supplies

Basics are all that you really NEED. If you are financially tight, living on one income, please tell your husband you only need the basics. God will bless you for it by really helping you and your children to gain more than most homeschoolers who have an endless supply of resources.

Eph. 5:33 “Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and {let} the wife {see to it} that she respect her husband.”

A husband who loves his wife as himself will be generous even though it may put a strain on his finances. Don’t let him do it. Respect your husband enough to not buy things that you really don’t need. Pray and ask the Lord to show you how to:

Teach your children to love the Lord and keep His commandments.

Fulfill your state requirements for home schooling.

Lead you to the books that you really need (and at a wonderful savings or, better yet, FREE!). Borrowing or exchanging books will help as long as you stay away from workbooks that ARE consumable.

If you are just beginning this wonderful journey of homeschooling, you may be considering buying a flag, a chalkboard, a set of alphabet cards to line the wall, and a timeline. Many homeschooling families’ homes are decorated in “Early American Homeschool.” Personally, I would rather my children and their behavior reflect that I homeschool instead of my walls. (I like all the posters that could line my walls, but don’t. I like them because they are cheap and because I can cut them up to make flash cards.)

A flag would be nice for outside, but unless it is your husband’s idea, leave it outside. Too many homeschoolers are so weird that it turns normal people off who might have really benefited from homeschooling. Not that a flag is weird, I just want to share a principle with you hoping that you will keep it in mind when you’re thinking of buying something that later you will regret.

Pencils, lined paper, three-ring binders for portfolios and a red pencil are all the “school supplies” you will really need. If you have young children, construction paper, glue, and crayons might also be good.

School Supplies for Fun

If you have a child who really wants to go to school, take it from a veteran HS mom, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Most of all, the young ones just want some of the “stuff” that looks like fun. Invest in a cheap lunch box. Wait until school has already started and then get one on sale or find one at a thrift shop or yard sale (just pitch the thermos!). Pack their lunch in it and let them “play school.” Ring a bell, have them bring you an apple and let them have “recess.”

If it is that school bus that they want to go on, take them on a public bus as a field trip. Make sure it is the LONGEST line. Park your car, ride it to the end, then turn around and come back. I guarantee it will take all the glamour out of the yellow school bus that pulls up the next day in front of your neighbor’s house. I found this out quite by mistake when we went on a homeschool-sponsored art trip. All we did was get on and off the bus as it traveled around downtown to the different art galleries. (It may have been even more effective because of all the boring exhibits!) However, I have shared this with many other mothers who said that this really “did the trick!”

Covering the Subjects

Making sure that their children are well-rounded is a concern for all mothers, and especially fathers. However, we tend to want to imitate and compete with a school system that is failing to turn out graduates who are even literate, able to read and write. Nevertheless, let me say that I, on purpose, keep my children “illiterate” of much of the sin education that the schools, and even some churches, teach. It was the “knowledge of good AND evil” that was the fall of man. Why should we teach our children evil?

I am not ashamed to say that I am totally opposed to teaching about evil. Nowhere does the Bible encourage or even suggest that parents teach or enlighten their children in the details of evil. After God was thrown out of the schools, along with the principles of Biblical discipline, evil began to run rampant. The “experts” deceived our parents by telling them that giving their children more information and educating them in the “negatives” of these wrong behaviors would help them to make good “choices.” Instead, it took away all the “fear of the unknown” and it did just the opposite. How absurd, so senseless as to be laughable, to think that teaching children all about drugs would cause them to stay away from them!

I grew up in southern California where the drugs were rampant. I didn’t know or understand anything about them. If anyone hinted or looked like they were about to do something like drugs, because of the fear of the unknown, I got away. I realize that peer dependency also plays a major factor, but for the homeschool family, this should totally eliminate any chance of your children becoming involved. The phrase “Just Say No!” should have been as far as they ever went with drug education.

How to Begin

So how would I begin to set up my homeschool daily routine?

Begin with Bible (“seek ye first”), then go onto the 3 R’s:

Reading: listening to you read, them reading out loud, reading for enjoyment, reading for subjects

Writing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, English

Arithmetic: add, subtract, multiply and divide

Lastly:

Geography

History

Science

Bible

As we have said in previous lessons, seeking the Lord and His righteousness first will assure success in your homeschooling. Make sure it is the beginning of your plans, the beginning of your portfolio, the beginning of your day, the subject that wins the greatest recognition and the greatest rewards. Bible reading, through personal reading or through listening to Bible tapes as you read along, is invaluable to a homeschooling family. The more emphasis you give to the Bible, the greater the fruits.

Bible memorization is so wonderful. It helps to strengthen the mind and the soul. There are awesome testimonies about those who did extensive Bible memorization. Bill Gothard shares his testimony of failing a couple of grades. Then he was told that if he memorized large passages of Scripture, he would move to the top of his class. That’s exactly what happened. In high school he graduated at the top of his class, but what was most impressive is what this did to him spiritually.

Reading

Whenever you can, and certainly if you continually seek the Lord, you should try to combine subjects. It will make it easier on you and your child as you still fulfill the requirements for your state (should there be any).

Rather than making reading a separate subject, have your child read a historical biography, thus fulfilling two subjects.

If your child is writing a paper for history, then use the mistakes to cover all of your English. Have them use their misspelled words as their spelling words, ask them to add some adjectives or adverbs to their description (grammar), and have them rewrite it in their best penmanship. At this point it is obvious that these four subjects could not be covered if you rely on workbooks where they simply “fill in the blanks.” I have found that by going back to the time when there were no workbooks, back to the time when there were only textbooks, or maybe even earlier, when only the teacher had a book and her students had to take dictation, you will find that your children will get as great an education as our grandparents got.

There are a lot of good books to read. The BEST way to help your children become lovers of reading is by reading to them. We get far too busy and neglect this wonderful interaction with our children as we plant a wonderful seed for the rest of their lives. Even older children love to listen to a good book read aloud. Take time to read during school time. My husband still tells me of his fondest memory from his school years when his one-handed teacher read Moby Dick to her students while they ate their lunch. All my children love to hear Hinds’ Feet on High Places which we have read many times. Read classics, biographies of famous people and missionaries. Keep a book going and they will beg you to read it throughout the day. It’s the best way I know to avoid the television when your family has something better they’d like to do!

Literature, and the love of it, is wonderful. Memorizing good poems is a great way to encourage the love of literature and also character building. I have included some poetry (at the end of the chapter) that my children have memorized and that has changed my children’s lives. Use the same method as Bible memorization with a tape recorder to help your children to memorize poems. Then have them recite them after dinner on a designated evening. Reward them with a treat and some applause. Make sure they do it AFTER they have recited and been rewarded MORE for their Bible memory verses.

Writing

Writing a paper on things that they read in geography, history, and science is the best, cheapest and most productive method. Even younger children will benefit. It may be more work for you, at first, but you will be amazed by the fruits.

It isn’t of any interest to the schools anymore, but good penmanship tells a lot about a good foundational education. Teach your children to hold their pencils the proper way; they can never write well if they don’t hold their pens or pencils properly. You can buy a simple holder that teaches them to hold the writing utensil the right way. Keep watching your children to make sure that they retrain themselves.

Next, teach your children to form their letters properly. If you are not sure how you should print a letter, get a simple book and then watch your children carefully. It’s easier to teach than to re-teach your children to do it right.

Arithmetic

Getting back to the basics is very important for everyday life. As mentioned earlier, flash cards help you to learn the facts quickly and learn them very well: add subtract, multiply, divide.

History

Bible history is a good place to start, or begin with learning our country’s history. For Bible history, a homemade time line will help you to learn it yourself. You can read through the Bible and then make it as you go. Make it to fold up and put away, or put it up in your child’s room or down your hallway.

For American history, the best way is to memorize the presidents and then build your history lessons from there. Add biographies to help them learn about the men and women behind the office or stories written during that time period to help your children learn to love history. History textbooks or workbooks are full of trivia, hard to follow, and never retained – so what’s the point in using them? Reading and writing about it is more fun and challenging and costs far less.

Geography

A globe is a nice present for Christmas or a birthday. Get in the habit of going to it when events come up. As I mentioned in an earlier lesson, a wooden map is the best way to get your children, even your very young children, to know their U.S. geography.

Have young children trace and color or cut out and glue. Add writing to it as they grow. A child who is five or six may be able to write out the state’s name underneath. Next year, they can write out the capital city’s name. By the time they are in fifth or sixth grade they can write a weekly paper on a state, city or country.

Science

Knowing creation science is probably the most beneficial with the greatest foundation for your child’s faith. There is much too much in the media contradicting the Biblical account of creation. Make sure you invest a great deal of time and again consider investing in some of Kent Hovind’s creation science videotapes.

Homemaking and Economics

Incorporating doing things around the house is a must for many reasons. First, you will never be able to keep up your housekeeping without your children’s help. Working together will be a way to build a strong and loving family.

It will also help your children as adults. Too many of us were educated through the schools, but were totally ill-prepared to keep a home. Cleaning, cooking and doing laundry are skills that many young people never learn. It seems that only children whose mothers work, and on whom all the housework is thrown, ever learn these tasks. Don’t deprive your daughters of the education of running a home and your sons of knowing how to help their wives.

There is a lot more help and suggestions in my book workers@home: Making the Most of Your Time than I am able to cover here.

Physical Education

If your child has an opportunity to run and play, then physical education is probably not necessary. Having your child in a sport is fine as long as it doesn’t get obsessive. Sports hold too high a priority in our nation.

One year I gave my children an audiotape with exercises that they loved to do. I had them run up and down the stairs, do jumping jacks, touch their toes, do sit-ups and a bunch of other things. They used to ask to do it several times a day, but I limited it to once (or twice if they did it before bedtime to make them really tired!).

Scheduling

Most mothers believe that they need to do every subject every day. When you homeschool you have the privilege of choosing when and how much, not just which curriculum you want to use. You may need to do some subjects daily, in accordance with your state requirements. But many subjects can be done every other day or just once a week.

“When” you homeschool (what time of the day) is also of your choosing. Most mothers do it first thing in the morning, but some adjust it according to their family’s schedule and needs. Make sure that you adjust your homeschooling to your husband’s schedule. If your husband gets up early, all of you get up early. Of course, if you have a bad attitude or your children are moody, then your husband may insist you sleep in until he is gone.

If your husband works out of town, or drives a truck, then make sure that you get ahead in your studies when he is gone and take school off when he is home. Be ready to drop everything when your husband is home. This will keep your family together and it is much more beneficial for you and your children to have time with the head of your home!

Most of you can schedule your day normally. Make sure that you stay at home most of the time. If you have to leave, make sure that the house is neat and a dinner is planned. When you are at home, make sure that you have your schoolwork done, the house picked up, your make-up on (if your husband likes you wearing it) and a good meal ready for him. Enjoy your evening together. Don’t continue to work on things that you should have done earlier in the day. A man likes to enjoy his wife when he is home. When you know the statistics for divorce in America and in the church, you must take your marriage seriously.

 

Table Rules for Little Folks

In silence I must take my seat,

And give God thanks before I eat;

Must for my food in patience wait,

Till I am asked to hand my plate;

I must not scold, nor whine, nor pout,

Nor move my chair nor plate about;

With knife, or fork or napkin ring,

I must not play, nor must I sing.

I must not speak a useless word,

For children should be seen, not heard;

I must not talk about my food,

Nor fret if I don’t think it good;

I must not say, “The bread is old,”

“The tea is hot,” “The coffee’s cold”;

My mouth with food I must not crowd,

Nor while I’m eating speak aloud;

Must turn my head to cough or sneeze,

And when I ask, say “If you please”;

The tablecloth I must not spoil,

Nor with my food my fingers soil;

Must keep my seat when I have done,

Not round the table sport or run;

When told to rise, then I must put

My chair away with noiseless foot;

And lift my heart to God above,

In praise for all his wondrous love.

 

Our Lips and Ears

If you your lips would keep from slips,

Five things observe with care:

Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,

And how and when and where.

If you your ears would save from jeers,

These things keep meekly hid:

Myself and I, and mine and my,

And how I do and did.

 

Little Fred

When little Fred

Was called to bed,

He always acted right;

He kissed his Mama,

And then his Papa,

And wished them all good night.

He made no noise,

Like naughty boys,

But gently up the stairs

Directly went,

When he was sent,

And always said his prayers.

 

The Little Gentleman

Take your meals, my little man,

Always like a gentleman;

Wash your face and hands with care,

Change your shoes, and brush your hair;

Then so fresh, and clean and neat,

Come and take your proper seat;

Do not loiter and be late,

Making other people wait;

Do not rudely point or touch;

Do not eat and drink too much;

Finish what you have before

You even ask or send for more;

                                               

Never crumble or destroy

Food that others might enjoy;

They who idly crumbs will waste

Often want a loaf to taste!

                                               

Never spill your milk or tea,

Never rude or noisy be;

Never choose the daintiest food,

Be content with what is good;

                                               

Seek in all things that you can

To be a little gentleman. 

 

Count That Day Lost
by George Eliot


If you sit down at set of sun

And count the acts that you have done,

And, counting, find

One self-denying deed, one word

That eased the heart of him who heard,

One glance most kind

That fell like sunshine where it went--

Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the live long day,

You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay--

If, through it all

You've nothing done that you can trace

That brought the sunshine to one face--

No act most small

that helped some soul and nothing cost--

Then count that day as worse than lost.

                                                           

Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,

Came, at the evening, cold and gray,

To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,

Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;

The sullen stream had no fears for him;

But he turned, when safe on the other side,

And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,

"You are wasting strength with building here;

Your journey will end with the ending day;

You never again must pass this way;

You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide -

Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:

"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,

"There followeth after me today

A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;

Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

  

What Have We Done Today?
By Nixon Waterman

We shall do much in the years to come,

But what have we done today?

We shall give our gold in a princely sum,

But what did we give today?

We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,

We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,

We shall speak the words of love and cheer,

But what did we speak today?

We shall be so kind in the after while,

But have we been today?

We shall bring to each lonely life a smile,

But what have we brought today?

We shall give to truth a grander birth,

And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,

We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,

But whom have we fed today?

We shall reap such joys in the by and by,

But what have we sown today?

He shall build us mansions in the sky,

But what have we built today?

’Tis sweet in the idle dreams to bask;

But here and now, do we our task?

Yet, this is the thing our souls must ask,

What have we done today?

Work While You Work

Work while you work,

Play while you play;

One thing each time,

That is the way.

All that you do,

Do with your might;

Things done by halves

Are not done right.

 

If You Were

If you were busy being kind,

Before you knew it, you would find

You’d soon forget to think ’twas true

That someone was unkind to you.

If you were busy being glad,

And cheering people who are sad,

Although your heart might ache a bit,

You’d soon forget to notice it.

If you were busy being good,

And doing just the best you could,

You’d not have time to blame some man

Who’s doing just the best he can.

If you were busy being right,

You’d find yourself too busy quite

To criticize your neighbor long

Because he’s busy being wrong.

“She rises while it is yet night…” Proverbs 31:15
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